Friday, December 31, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/30/04

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/29/04

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/28/04

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/27/04

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Happy New Year ...

to all readers.

Talk to you once again on 3-Jan-2005 !

China Starts Up World's Biggest Next-Gen Internet Network

For complete coverage of the trsunami ...

from the Indian front, visit

Rediff - Tsunami Complete coverage.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get such a complete coverage from other Indian News Providers.

Some of the other Indian news sites that you could check are

Indian Express
The Hindu
Times of India

Secrets of FireFox 1.0

Learn how to

* fix a memory leak in Firefox 1.0,
* tweak all visible and invisible configuration settings,
* speed up firefox,
* use customized builds, ...


Monday, December 27, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/26/04

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Update on the tsunami tragedy in India ...

For the concerned, thanks - I'm fine. The building I'm staying in did experience tremors and I was half asleep at that time wondering why my bed was swaying for a "long" time or whether it was part of my dreams.

For those who want news updates from the Indian front, visit


For an account on how this tragedy could have been avoided in case we had an effective disaster management system, read this. US officials were desperately trying to warn authorities of regions to be affected about the impending calamity, with little or no success.

Unfortunately the Indian government or at least some folks in a few machineries seem to think that such systems are "administratively difficult" to build (more than the thousands of lives that have perished).

Pant says the setting up of a tsunami warning system in India would be "administratively difficult" since it is a rare phenomenon scattered over open seas.

And, finally, take a moment to pray for the souls of those who have perished.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/25/04

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On the equality of daughters and sons - Kotak Mahindra Ad ...

The other day, 23-Dec-2004 to be precise, I was driving my car down to the service station when I heard an ad on "Radio Mirchi", the local FM station.

It was an ad from Kotak Mahindra (finance), I think. The ad featured a male voice talking about monetary pressures for the need to marry off the daughter and send the son abroad for higher education.

It made me wonder why ads have to talk about girls having to get married and guys having to study further - why can't it be the other way around ?!, and I do understand that there's nothing fully wrong even with the statement made in the ad to the extent that it's indeed a very possible situation.

Something in the tone of the ad (and the method it was conveying) just didn't sound right to me !

For those who haven't noticed ...

I also run a humor blog.

RSS/ATOM Feeds are available from here.

2004 Global Influentials - Balaji Krishnamurthy

Balaji Krishnamurthy, the CEO of planar systems has been voted as one of the 2004 Global Business Influentials by the CNN.

Article: 2004 Global Influentials

Interestingly, it seems he's very similar to Azim Premji in his chaste habits. He books the cheapest rooms in hotels and 4 yrs ago had designed a bonus system in his company that rewarded him the last. Looks like Indians are showing the world what is chaste corporate governance.

Courtesy : Vasant

Saturday, December 25, 2004

AirTel ties-up with NMIMS to offer executive MBA programme

While researching some stuff on Bharti Televentures for a business school project, I found this interesting news snippet. Nice to see companies coming forth to give executive management training.

Daily Cartoon - 12/24/04

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Apple - The Graphing Calculator Story ...

This story has been doing the rounds in the blogosphere and /. for quite some time now.

Leaving aside the infosec part, it's really nice to see how two guys, with fantastic amount of help from some really kind hearted (extremely risk taking or moronic) souls could churn out something supposedly (I haven't seen it, so I can't really vouch for it) just too wonderful.

Snippets here.

I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.


"It's midnight. I've been working sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. I'm not being paid. In fact, my project was canceled six months ago, so I'm evading security, sneaking into Apple Computer's main offices in the heart of Silicon Valley, doing clandestine volunteer work for an eight-billion-dollar corporation."


We finished in January 1994. Graphing Calculator has been part of the Macintosh ever since. Teachers around the world use it as an animated blackboard to illustrate abstract concepts visually. It shipped on more than twenty million machines. It never officially existed.


Read the complete story here.

The problems that the layout of keyboard characters can cause !!

There are a lot of tricky (or dire) situations that you could get into due to the layout of characters on the keyboard (the QWERTY system at least).

For instance consider the two letters 's' and 'd'.

Any unix user will know that its almost sacrilege to type some commands without proper authorization, especially if the logging systems are setup perfectly. The admininstrator can take you to task - like cutting off ur email, not allowing you to login, deleting all ur files, or worst still hosting ur stuff for the whole world to see, ... - for such a misdemeanor :)

Imagine my consternation when I happened to type 'su -sh .' instead of 'du -sh .' ! :) My agile mind (which was actually not present and not working earlier, not that it ever does) ran faster than anything in the whole universe and I panicked to press the eternal savior 'Ctrl+C'.

I'm now waiting for the 'i-can-sell-ur-soul-now' call from the system admin :)

Indian Tech City (Bangalore) Turns to Microsoft for E-Governance

Microsoft convinces the Bangalore government to use its proprietary software, briefly stemming the tide of international governments turning to open-source software.

Microsoft Corp. won a battle against open source software supporters in India's technology hub of Bangalore, with local authorities choosing its software for networking the state's utilities and services.

An e-governance project for the 55 million people of Karnataka state, of which Bangalore is the capital, will begin April 2005 and will be powered by Microsoft's proprietary software, an official said Monday.


Keeping Email Private

Think, would you want your email to be read after you are dead, without you having explicitly asked for it earlier (or in other words willed it) ?

I don't certainly think I want my email to be read by anyone else after my death, given the kind of things I get involved in ;-)

Yahoo is, so far, standing by its policy of protecting the privacy of its email subscribers. But the policy is under attack by the parents of a Marine who was recently killed in Iraq, who want to read his email.

Daily Cartoon - 12/23/04

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The White House (USA) has some "challanges" with spelling ...

Undersea cable wars brewing in India - huge bandwidth at stake ...

Looks like finally a lot of folks are really starting to notice the bandwidth problem in India.

Flag, VSNL spar over bandwidth

MUMBAI, DECEMBER 22: TATA group company VSNL, one of the original investors in the Flag Cable Systems in 1995-1996, has been accused by Flag Telecom Ltd, a Reliance company, of artificially restricting access on Flag Europe Asia (FEA) cable and preventing the ability to respond to market demand.


As another article points out, WTO GATS provisions are being invoked on this hoarding !

VSNL violates WTO norms

MUMBAI: VSNL has been accused of restricting access on Reliance group-owned FLAG Europe Asia cable, which is in direct violation of WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).


Spammers ordered to pay $1 billion

Nice way to begin holiday season ! :)

Unlimited calls @Rs 99/mth from Tata!

Whatz this ? Unlimited calls, internet surfing at 3G speeds, ... ?!

Tata Teleservices on Thursday launched Push-to-Talk services offering customers the facility to make unlimited calls without any long distance or roaming charges within the network on a monthly rental of Rs 99.

The PTT service, which is the first by any mobile operator in the country, will offer instant connectivity across the country and Internet surfing at 3G speeds.


Read the complete article here.

Indibloggies awards coming up - FeedDemon sponsoring awards ...

Indibloggies 2004 awards are coming up !

I found out at the site that FeedDemon, my favorite RSS/ATOM reader, is also sponsoring awards !! Way to go Nick (author of FeedDemon) !

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Book trains from 4am to 11.30pm online ? ...

It appears that IRCTC allows train bookings from 4am to 11.30pm. That's great news !! Found this piece of info here.

Note that IRCTC site however still states timing to be "Mon-Sat: 08:00 to 22:00 Sun: 08:00 to 14:0". If anyone knows what is the correct timings now, it'd be great to know.

Vadapalani Temple ...

One of the biggest temples near my office and home. Read about it here.

Does you car have enough personality ? Can it do the jig ?

Kewl ad here.

Daily Cartoon - 12/22/04

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Want a Google Radio for free ?

Participate in this contest which asks "What will you do if you were in charge of Google" ?

Courtesy : The Unofficial Google Weblog

MMS case: Media comes in for criticism

With all due consideration, there's legality and there are other things. Just the fact that they "boy" is 17 years old is now entitling him to a lot of soft corner, especially after getting into what he did ! Sometime, law sure seems weird to me.

The Delhi Juvenile Justice Board principal magistrate said the media is not being 'sensitive', but attempting to 'sensationalise' the issue.


The court also ordered the scribes to neither name the boy, who has been arrested, nor his school while reporting the matter.


Read the complete story here.

Anna University bans camera phones on campus

University Vice-Chancellor E Balaguruswamy said such phones were a threat to privacy and could be used to blackmail others.


Read the complete article here.

S Ramadorai is Businessman of the Year 2004

S Ramadorai, Tata Consultancy Services CEO, been selected the Business India Businessman of the Year 2004.

Ramadorai was given this distinction, the 23rd since the inception of this award, by an eminent jury, chaired by Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, and the Business India Businessman of the Year 2003.

Other members of the jury were: Kishor A Chaukar, Managing Director, Tata Industries; Gunit Chadha, CEO, Deutsche Bank (India); Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director, JISCO; Kiran Karnik, President, NASSCOM; Malvinder Singh, President, Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories; and Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft India.


Read the complete article here.

Kewl, silly flash game ...

Double-O-Luke (almost like the 007) :)

Why doesn't Google News ...

provide ATOM/RSS feeds ? Anyone have a clue or "interesting" news ? :)

Traffic to my blog (monitored via SiteMeter) ...

I spent a couple of minutes today (after a very long time) in bothering to check what SiteMeter's counter had to say.

Note that while my SiteMeter counter shows a number on the counter, a lot of Sitemeter counters now don't appear to do so ! :( Maybe they changed their policies to give out such counters only for paid accounts ?!

It's interesting to know what your readers are reading, where they are possibly coming from, what timezones, corporations, service providers, etc. I understand that this could probably be a subset of people using the blog, others reading it via RSS/ATOM feeds.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Upcoming vacation next week ...

I'm traveling to Mangalore, via B'lore, to meet a friend after a very long time. If there are any recommendations for must see places in Mangalore, feel free to leave your comments here or send me email (contact info on the side). If there are road (highway) routes that you recommend to take/avoid - from Chennai to Mangalore - I'd be thankful.

And, this means that there'd probably be no blogging from next Tuesday till Jan-3 or so !!

Wireless all around me ...

Noufal talks about wireless at office (Cisco India Pvt Ltd).

Kiruba talks about wireless at office (Sify).

Interesting trends indeed. Just wondering a wee bit worriedly on what can be talked about office and what not. That's something bloggers have to be very careful about. Not many Indian (or operating in India) companies have come out with a policy for bloggers.

Google Responds Sluggishly to Virus

Robert Lemos at CNET reports that the Santy.a worm could have been stopped quicker if Google had responded sooner to pleas from security company F-Secure. The worm used Googles index to target the sites it defaced.


Read the complete stuff here.

Reliance Info to launch broadband in 193 cities

Reliance Infocomm would soon launch its broadband services in 193 cities across the country while aiming at providing the services in about 5,000 cities and towns throughout India in future.

''To start with, we will launch the services in 193 cities and small towns soon. This is our first priority list,'' R Tewari, president (business development), Reliance Industries, told reporters in Kolkata on Tuesday.


Read the complete article here.

Y P Singh discusses some legal points in the Baazee case ...

This is indeed from the famed Y.P.Singh.

From: "Y.P. Singh"
Date: Wed Dec 22, 2004 4:42 pm
Subject: Re: Travesty of Justice - Fault is not of law but those who implement law!

There is so much debate that the law must be changed. One must know that it is not the law which is at fault, it is they who are at fault who implement the law, but do not know the law.

I had prepared a small legal note on the arrest of Baazee CEO for a friend. I am pasting it below for perusal.

Legal note on arrest of the CEO of

The arrest of CEO seems to be unwarranted for the following reasons:

First: The principles of vicarious responsibility, i.e. one person being made liable for the act of another, has got no applicability in criminal law. It can be applied only in civil laws. Here a full-fledged criminal case has been made out on the basis of vicarious responsibility.

Second: Section 86 Indian Penal Code, which applies to all other laws including IT Act, stipulates mens rea i.e. a criminal intention and knowledge before a person can be made liable for an offence. Here there is neither any criminal intention nor knowledge.

Third: Section 2(w) of the IT Act gives a very liberal definition to the word 'intermediary' which includes "any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that message or provides any service with respect to that message. That being so Baazee is classified as an intermediary and as per section 79 intermediaries cannot be held liable if the offence is done without knowledge.

Fourth: In criminal law, actual cutting edge working hands become liable first and then the remotely placed CEO. However, only CEO is arrested and not the operators and supervisors. This makes the action discriminatory which is not permitted under Article 14 of the Constitution.

Fifth: The CEO is charged with omission to act. Under section 2(n) of the Cr.P.C. an offence of omission is committed only when it is made punishable under the individual statutes. Section 67 of the IT Act makes no such omission as punishable.

Sixth: The purpose of arrest is primarily to make use of admissibility of the conditional confesstion under section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, made before a police officer. No such investigation expediencies were attenant thereto in this case.

Update : GMail gave me a 'relaying denied' error while sending a message to

Update : I figured out the dumb reason ! :) Look at the ending '.' in

That was the problem. Changing it to

solved it. Silly me! And, be watchful when typing those email-ids ! :)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Technical details of failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 10): 550 relaying denied for

I don't know whatz the reason. Anyone have an idea ? This happened when I sent out a GMail invite to a email-id (the 'abc' in the above is to protect the indentity of the recepient).

[GNU/Linux Vidyashram] Shell Scripting

Dear GNU/Linux enthusiasts,

We shall be starting our lecture series from January 15, 2005 (Saturday) with the "Shell Scripting" series. Mr. Hariram Aatreya will be giving us lectures on bash shell scripting. It will be a two/three part series on consecutive weekends. Please note the dates:

January 15th, 2005 (Saturday) 3:00 PM IST

January 22nd, 2005 (Saturday) 3:00 PM IST

January 29th, 2005 (Saturday, if needed) 3:00 PM IST

Venue will our the ADI-TeNeT Seminar Hall, #CSD-320, ESB, IIT-Madras.

Do spread the word to your friends in schools/colleges.

Part of initiatives in ILUGC - India Linux User Group, Chennai.

If you are a fresher interested in effective career options

take a look at

That's what I saw in an email signature of someone in a group I've been on for a long time.

Daily Cartoon - 12/21/04

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Have a few GMail invites ...

In case you need them, leave a comment here or mail me (email info on the left side).

Remember that apart from the famous 1GB account, GMail now gives you POP and SMTP access too !

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

New login accounts available ...

at Check it out !

Daily Cartoon - 12/20/04

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DPS MMS Scandal Online Petition (not armchair activism)

I'm not sure how many of you are aware of the DPS MMS Scandal and the arrest of CEO, Avnish Bajaj. The issue is quite concerning because of the ramifications that it has for the industry and highlights the severe lack of just IT policies and enforcement.

In view of this, I'd like all of you to take a few minutes to read the following petition (certainly not armchair activism) and sign it with your name. Copies of this petition are being passed onto the PMOs office _daily_ in order to make this an issue of public awareness and debate (if necessary).

The petition is only one in a series of multipronged strategy being undertaken by some public online groups in order to set the right direction in increasing awareness about online transactions, getting the law "reworded" if necessary, attempting to initiate the necessary proceedings in securing the release of the said CEO and much more.

Please read and sign the petition. Pass it onto your friends in order to increase awareness and support.

For a legal take on the issue, read

For media coverage on CXO, read

In case you need more information, please feel free to contact me.

Update : A few minutes after I'd sent out the above via email to a lot of friends I learnt that the CEO was released on bail. However, the efforts underlined in the petition will continue.

For an example of what you could be signing ...

if you didn't read the fine print in the slip that you had just signed, visit

Daily Cartoon - 12/19/04

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Top 10 Free Mail Checkers for Windows

Anyone ever used a free mail checker (something which checks for email and pops-up a notiifcation about the message) ?

I could find a list here, but then I'm quite skeptical about the security aspect. Any recommendations ?

NASSCOM condemns Baazee CEO arrest

Condemning the arrest of CEO Avnish Bajaj in the DPS MMS case, apex software industry body NASSCOM today called for amending the Information Technology (IT) Act, saying the ''draconian'' move to arrest the IT professional will send wrong signals to the industry.


Read the complete article here.

Thunderbird supports RSS/ATOM feeds ...

For those who are using Thunderbird v1.0, it has excellent support for RSS/ATOM feeds.

Click on File->Account->RSS&Blogs and create an account called "Blogs".

Once you've done that, right click on the new "Blogs" account and select "Manage Subscriptions". Once in that window, select "Add" button and add your interested feeds, say :)

HCL Tech buys 51% stake in Aalayance

HCL Technologies has announced that the Board of Directors of the company have approved the subscription of 9.08 million shares in Aalayance Inc., giving HCL Technologies a majority 51 percent stake (on a fully diluted basis). The consideration for this transaction is $1.9 million and the investment will be made by HCL Technologies Bermuda Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of HCL Technologies.


Read the complete article here.

Vintage Indian Air Force jets for free

Indian Air Force is giving away vintage jets for free ! :) The objective is to preserve and display them in prominent places in the city ! Now, that's kewl ! However, I think I'll pass it this time - don't have the "prominent place". When I do own "Spencers Plaza", I'll get these jets from whoever is having them then :)

Courtesy : Anurag Jain.

Wonderful response from a company in protecting its customers ...

Microsoft attempts to shutdown MacSlash.

digital.forest (DF) operates the colocated server MacSlash. DF has no access to those machines. A longhorn license got posted in comments on some article in MacSlash. The comment was rated the lowest by the system. Microsoft sent a threatening letter to DF. DF replied asking Microsoft to take a hike or ask the actual owners in a decent manner.

I love such companies that can take a stance for their customers against behemoths such as Microsoft.

The whole story is written here.

Courtesy : Scoble.

An interesting "open letter to digital world" ...

Fed up with Microsoft's bad attempts at trying to fix security loopholes and flaws in majority of its software, a system admin writes an "open letter to the digital world" describing the places where Microsoft has gone, is going (and probably will go) wrong.

Read it here.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Legal take on the arrest of Bazee CEO ...

Here's an interesting 'legal take" on the arrest of CEO.

There's a lot of activity on the issue of Indian IT Act 2000 and its interpretation by courts, in a group that I'm part of. There'll hopefully be something concrete that emerges out of this whole episode. Stay tuned.

Man held for insulting national anthem 32 years back

Real strange news. Unfortunately, the news snippet doesn't go into exact details of the case.

Masabkha Nawabkhan allegedly did not stand up when the national anthem was being played in a cinema hall in 1972.


Read the complete article here.

Two Indian hotels among world's best

Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel and Udaipur's Oberoi Rajvilas have made it to the world's best hotels' list compiled by Conde Naste Traveller.


Read the complete article here.

International meet on cryptology in Chennai

A three-day international conference on cryptology will get underway here tomorrow with the aim of providing secure communication to the business and military sectors.


Read the complete article here.

An amusing signature ...

that I found recently.

Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.
Study hard, be evil.


Daily Cartoon - 12/18/04

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Cisco to open R&D facility in Japan

Cisco Systems Inc. on Thursday said that it will open a research facility in Tokyo, a move designed to strengthen its position in the growing Japanese market.


Read the complete news here.

Now click photos in plane (in India) ...

So screams the headlines and notes in an article here. I'm infact surprised that we had such a "dumb" rule in the first place ! It's good to see that common sense is prevailing and they are indeed removing archaic laws.

Snippet of the article.

Passengers have been allowed to take photographs from inside an air-borne aircraft as part of a government initiative.

As part of the government's initiative to do away with archaic and irrelevant regulations, passengers have been allowed to take photographs from inside an air-borne aircraft.

"The regulations, for some strange reason, have been preventing individuals from taking photographs inside the airport complex, on the apron area and inside the aircraft," an official said.

"We have already permitted photography inside the terminal buildings. After detailed discussions with the defence ministry, we have now agreed to allow bonafide passengers travelling in a scheduled airline to take photographs from inside the aircraft while in flight and while landing, take-off and on ground at civil aerodromes," the official said.

"There is no stretch in this country that has not been mapped aerially and is not available on the Net. So, why should we stop individuals from photographing the area under the garb of security concerns?" the official said.


Whoz expanding / whoz rightsizing in Indian Job market ...

For all those who wanted to maintain a tap on the Indian job market, here's a Jobs RSS feed from the most read Indian financial newspaper Economic Times. Go, grab the headlines easily.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Developing on Flickr ...

I've been looking at the capabilities and promise of Flickr, more so with it's free edition. Given that it can display 100 photos in it's photostream and can store whatever we throw at it (inspite of the display limit), I don't think it'll be far off when someone comes with an album package that allows people to store their photos on Flickr and create a set of HTML pages that make up an album using those images. Remember that Flickr promises to allow all photos referenced via some links to be displayed.

Anyone game ? Is it already out there ? Or does Flickr's licensing schemes / user agreement explicitly forbid such actions ?

chimpus automaniacus aka auto wallahs ...

Further to my earlier mention about auto wallahs, here's an "amusing" article on this special tribe ! The author proceeds to call autowallahs "chimpus automaniacus" - an undiscovered breed of animals between chimps and homo spaiens :)

Go read it ! :)

Hmm, Times of India now advertises porn (via Google Ads) ?

Look at this screen snapshot which came in one of the groups that I'm part of ! I don't think it's something that's been photoshopped. In particular, look at the "Ads by Google" section.

Does anyone know if Google explicitly says that it won't advertise Porn ? And, more importantly, what does Indian legal system say, 'cos Times Of India group is now using Google Ads to get money and those ads are giving out porn information. Will TOI be responsible for ads coming on its pages via an external mechanism ? Does anyone have an idea ?!


Yet another case where the media has been censured ...

Kissing in public is one thing in India. Being videographed for it and having it show on newspapers and TV is yet another !

In the recent Kareena Kapoor, Shahid smooch case, here's what the courts had to say to the media!

DPS sex scandal: CEO arrested

For those who don't remember, don't know, was recently "acquired" by one of the biggest online auction site !

Now, in the strange MMS sex scandal that had hit Indian shores, the CEO of has been held responsible for "allowing" poernographic material to be sold via his website.

In some legal forums that I've been involved in, we've already contemplated this action and the way things will turn about. Of course, since this is the first case of such instance in India, it's hard for a lot of people to tell how this will turn out.

Let's see how this case goes.

Read the news article here.

Obituary ...

I've been reading this strange "obituary" of sort on Syon Bhattacharya (pointed to by Scoble)for the last couple of minutes and it has really set me thinking. It's really amazing to see the kind of impact some people leave on people around them!

My most sincere prayers and wishes that Syon's soul rests in peace and that his family and friends are able to bear this loss.

(I think I'll call it a night, tonight).

Friday, December 17, 2004

Try to balance this guy ...

As you can see he's, well, just like I'm usually (in my mind) - too drunk to be walking straight :)

He needs your help to walk straight. Keep moving the invisible mouse towards left and right in order to balance him. All the best in talking him for a long walk.

I managed to keep him walking till 78meters on my most recent try.

Feedburner launches FeedCount ...

Now, display your feed statistics via FeedCount ! A static or animated graphic display giving the count of readers subscribed to your feed via FeedBurner !

Visit for more information.

Flights about to crash ?! Nah ...

Once again, not sure how true this photo is, nonetheless ... :)

A Lufthansa 747-400 and a United 757-200 are on a simultaneous landing approach on the parallel runways 28L and 28R at SFO.

Real runway separation is 225 meters.

Due to the telephoto distortion, the Jumbo 747 being 3 times larger than the 757 and being behind it, gives us this fantastic optical illusion that they are flying inches from each other !!!


Daily Cartoon - 12/16/04

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HeyPix - another online photosharing site ..., talked about by Scoble.

Check it out. I'm gonna try it out later. Have however got for myself

Broadcasters told to provide all TV channels in 90 days

I'm hoping that this move, once it happens and action rolls out, will cause DTH to really happen in India. CAS will no longer be a problem for me in Chennai !! It's another thing that I want to shoot down the state machinery for making a mockery of its citizens by enacting CAS regulations !

In Chennai, I can't get any pay channel without having to pay obscene amounts to cable operators for monthly susbcriptions and an almost "non refunable" amount for a "network-non-portable" set-top-box ! Right now, I'm missing my favorite comedy shows on Z English and STAR World and the silly cartoons on Cartoon Network. And, I'm not even going to talk about the actually useful Discovery and National Geographic Channels !! X-(

A new era in the broadcasting and cable industry is expected from March 2005 once the interconnect order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is implemented. According to the order, which was issued on Friday, “every broadcaster shall provide on request signals of its TV channels on non-discriminatory terms to all distributors of TV channels, which may include, but may not be limited to a cable operator, direct-to-home (DTH) operator, multi-system operator (MSO), head-ends in the sky (HITS) operator”.

The order leaves no room for exclusivity of any distribution platform, including DTH, citing consumer convenience.


Read the complete article here.

India gets its fixed wireless groove on

Looks like things are beginning to get interesting in the Indian broadband market. When I last checked up stuff, external deployment of wireless was not allowed (as in I could become a wireless ISP), now this seems a bit contrary. Or maybe I need to wake up in the morning and understand it better ! :)

WebSky has finalized plans to start a fixed wireless business in India in partnership with World Wide Wireless (India), a New Delhi based company that will launch high speed non-line of sight telecom services in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay) and Ludhiana (Punjab.) Under the terms of the agreement, a Joint Venture to be known as WebSky (India). WebSky India projects, based on modest market penetration assumptions along with continuing robust growth of the internet in India, that annual revenues for the three initial locations in the third year of operations will exceed $45 million. Thats about 2025 million rupees. If the company follows the current average broadband price of about 1000 rupees per month the company is looking at about 170,000 users at the end of first three years - and that is actually achieveable.

Courtesy : Om Malik

Nortel's big $500 million Indian deal with BSNL

Nortel Networks has bagged what is being billed as the worlds largest tender for cellular services. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has awarded Nortel a contract estimated at $500 million (about Rs. 2,500 crore) to expand its GSM/GPRS digital wireless network in the south and south zones of India. This expansion is expected to be completed in the first half of 2005, according to a Nortel release.

Courtesy : Nortel bags $500 m contract from BSNL (via "The Hindu") referred to by Om Malik.

At last - Google Downloads in one place ..

I've often wondered why Google doesn't have all of it's downloads in one place. What with so many products and so many acquistions, stuff has been strewn all around.

Looks like they've been waiting for the holiday and gifting festive season :)

Presenting Google Downloads to you now !

Chennai costliest metro

I somehow tend to disagree with this finding. I still think Chennai is far cheaper if you have to rent a place to stay. Much much cheaper than Bangalore or Mumabi (other hotspots for IT - Information Technology). Kolkotta is probably not any cheaper than Chennai (but I'm not too sure).

If you had to buy a place, Chennai is costlier than B'lore, and probably cheaper than the other metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkotta). Even otherwise most the day to day stuff appears cheaper to me, than other places.

Unless you are using the autos in Chennai ! If you are the type who can actually afford to hire an auto in Chennai, you must really be filthy rich ! :) The autowallahs (auto drivers) in Chennai are notorious for harassing passengers for exorbitant fares. A 1 kilometer trip could cost you anywhere between Rs.20-100 depending on your bargaining skills and whether you are a localite or tourist ! If you are a "real" Chennaiite, you know better than to take an auto. There are however some friends of mine who are probably some of the "best deal negotiators in the world" and can actually drive a bargain with these auto drivers ! I'm constantly amazed at their skill :)

[ On a side note, here's an old joke about Chennai autos : Aziz Premji, the owner of Wipro Technologies, and one of the top 5 richest men in India is supposed to actually drive an old car or quite often take the auto in Bangalore. When news of his auto trips reached Chennai, people started telling that his immense wealth would be depleted in no time if he were to ever try using autos in Chennai ! Such is Chennai auto fame :) Ok, I may be exaggerating it a bit, however this is indeed an old joke! ]

BTW, here's the article which seems to have a slightly different take on the whole thing. Maybe a conspiracy against Chennai :)

With scores of knowledge economy firms making a beeline for Chennai, bringing with them thousands of highly paid employees, the cost of living in Chennai is going through the roof. It is, in fact, the costliest metropolis in India. This may shatter many a myth about the high cost of living in Delhi or Mumbai.

According to the latest consumer price index for urban non-manual employees (CPI UNME) brought out by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the cost of living in Chennai is a whopping 116% higher than the cost of living in Kolkata, 85% higher than Mumbai and 73% higher than Delhi. In other words, an average Chennaite shells out more than double for his or her living compared to the cost of living in Kolkata.


Read the complete article here.

New species of monkey found in India

A species of monkey unknown to science has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Named after Arunachal Pradesh, where it was found, the Arunachal macaque -- a relatively large, brown primate with a comparatively short tail -- is described in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Primatology.

The last species of macaque discovered in the wild, the Indonesian Pagai, was described in 1903.


Read the complete article here.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Yahoo, HP centres in Chennai soon

Now, this is real interesting news !!

Internet major Yahoo Inc and Hewlett Packard are in the process of setting up their development centres in Chennai and will soon be launching their operations, IT Secretary of Tamil Nadu, Vivek Harinarain said in Chennai on Thursday.

"Yahoo is currently in the process of setting up its development centre and is expected to launch its operations on December 24.

In the next couple of months, Hewlett Packard will be starting its operations in Chennai with a total headcount of around 500 and plans to take it to 1000 in the next couple of years," he said, while addressing a two-day conference on 'Creating a New Generation of Entrepreneurs.'


Read the complete article here.

Update on my home comp ...

After swapping my old comp's 192MB RAM with the recently borrowed one's 128MB, I don't think I'll ever need another new machine for a long time to come ! :)

Apps that I run at any point of time on the home comp are (also refer to my must have software list here)

1. Firefox
2. FeedDemon
3. Thunderbird
4. w.bloggar

Apps that sit on the tray include

1. Spybot S&D
2. Zonealarm Personal Firewall
3. AVG Antivirus
4. Google Desktop Search.

Yahoo Messenger is an occasional add on.

Let's see how long this "new" config helps me to stay in my senses. Maybe I'll try upgrading RAM much more - say to 512MB or 1GB if necessary !! That should help me to keep this thing going for a long time.

Need recommendations for a good camera mobile phone ...

I've been thinking about getting a camera mobile phone to qwell my photographer's instinct :)

I've read and heard a few good recommendations for Nokia 6600. Anyone have a difference of opinion or more inputs on the same ?

Y P Singh (ex IPS Officer) interview ...

Must read for those who'd like to know the level of corruption and its effect in India. A top performing person working in Indian Civil Services, resigning out of frustration is a sign of grave danger and indicative of the direction in which this country is unfortunately heading.

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

How a company policy begins ...

A good candidate for my humor blog, nonetheless ...

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done around here.

And that, my friends, is how a company policy begins.

An interesting article on Sotware Pricing from Joel ...


One of the biggest questions you're going to be asking now is, "How much should I charge for my software?" When you ask the experts they don't seem to know. Pricing is a deep, dark mystery, they tell you. The biggest mistake software companies make is charging too little, so they don't get enough income, and they have to go out of business. An even bigger mistake, yes, even bigger than the biggest mistake, is charging too much, so they don't get enough customers, and they have to go out of business. Going out of business is not good because everybody loses their job, and you have to go work at Wal*Mart as a greeter, earning minimum wage and being forced to wear a polyester uniform all day long.


The answer is really complicated. I'm going to start with a little economic theory, then I'm going to tear the theory to bits, and when I'm finished, you'll know a lot more about pricing and you still won't know how much to charge for your software, but that's just the nature of pricing. If you can't be bothered to read this, just charge $0.05 for your software, unless it does bug tracking, in which case charge $30,000,000 for it.


Read the complete article here.

Daily Cartoon - 12/15/04

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Coke Vs. Pepsi battle (in Chennai)

Story goes like this (not sure how true it is) :

Take a look at this hoarding by Pepsi. This building is on TTK Road, Chennai. Coca Cola has taken 2nd floor for their sales & marketing office and recently fixed a board. Two days later Pepsi put up a board in the same building where they have no retail outlet ! Just take a look at their cool audacity ! :)


I probably need to get a new computer at home ...

My first one (not being used right now) is a P2 MMX running (overclocked) at 250MHz with 192MB RAM. Just can't get the USB port to work with an external USB modem.

Borrowed a machine from a friend that's a 600MHz P3 Celeron with 128MB RAM.

I'm now thinking of getting a better machine.

Something like a P4, 2.8GHz, 512MB DDRAM, ...

Send in suggestions if you have any on what I should be getting, even in terms of recommendations on Motherboards, accessories, etc.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/14/04

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Now, that's a real kewl, tall bridge ...

Pillars from the Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, rise above the cloud-covered valley of the river Tarn December 9, 2004. The Millau Viaduct, with seven slender soaring pillars, is the highest bridge in the world at 343 meters, and now creates a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast. The bridge will be inaugurated by French President Chirac at a ceremony.
From : Yahoo News.

For more details on the bridge, visit here.

Thanks to Visithra who pointed this wonderful bridge to me.

Sound Advice

An ideal candidate for my humor blog, nonetheless ... :)

If you are married, you probably don’t sleep. And if you do manage to, you are probably pinched all night on your inner thigh (ouch, that hurt!) to keep you awake because when you sleep, you snore and that keeps your wife awake.

In the first month of our marriage, I wouldn’t walk properly in the mornings. My inner thighs were sore with red pinch-marks.

Confused? Don’t be. It is simple logic. Men snore and agree. Women snore, but don’t agree and make a big fuss about their husband’s orchestra.

In the initial days of our marriage Rekha would not disturb me, and I would have a real sound sleep. Most satisfied men tend to snore and I guess my high-decibel activity did not go well with my wife. Whenever it reached a crescendo, she would pinch and wake me up, and the decibel levels would come down. The whole cycle would repeat itself soon enough.

I snore. Priya, Nivedita, Rajalakshmi, Geeta and Pratima are testimony to it (Names have been changed to ensure privacy of these pretty girls). Once, our deaf and half-dead neighbor also complained. On second thoughts, Rekha has also warned me about it.

She had said: “Guess what, I did not sleep the whole of last night.”

“I knew it! You were watching a movie without me!” I exclaimed.

“No stupid. You kept snoring and the whole night and I felt I was at The Phantom of the Opera.”

“Hoo…cool. That’s a nice show.” I try to dodge her barbs.

“I know, but cannot you bring down the volume? She asks..or rather pleads.

“Sure I will,” I say even though I had wanted to say: “Sure…honey, But I am not able to reach for the snore-volume knob…could you please help me out.”

Sleeplessness can drive people crazy. Before the first month of our marriage came to an end, Rekha had started acting crazy.

She visited a local homeopath to buy a snore-remover medicine. It looked like coarse sand..actually I can swear in any court that it WAS actually sand, used in construction works. The homeopath had charged Rs 200 and given 20 grams of sand to Rekha.

The instructions were simple, I was supposed to mix sand in neem juice and gulp it down. Little did Rekha knew that sand doesn’t mix in neem juice, but that did not stop her from pouring it down my food pipe. I cried hoarse, but my wife who had full faith in the homeopath conman, would not believe me.

Last week, I had my fifth snore-stopping medicine - the residue of a dirty burnt-out handkerchief mixed with curd with a dash of turmeric. Whatever happened to common sense?

The good thing is, now that Rekha is at fault (five of her medicines failed to take affect), I can snore at will.

Now, that’s something not all husbands have the privilege of!

BTW, this is from here. A pretty amusing blog :)

Elisp tutorial ...

For those who are fans of EMACS, here's an elisp tutorial from one of my colleagues, Sriram Karra.

Linux Has Fewer Bugs Than Rivals

Wired has an article stating that according to a four-year analysis of the 5.7 million lines of Linux source code conducted by five Stanford University computer science researchers, the Linux kernel programming code is better and more secure than the programming code of most proprietary software. The report, set to be released on Tuesday, states that the 2.6 Linux production kernel, shipped with software from Red Hat, Novell and other major Linux software vendors, contains 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software. Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis. Commercial software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code, according to Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab Sustainable Computing Consortium. This would be equivalent to 114,000 to 171,000 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code.

From /.

Microsoft releases desktop search suite to testers

Microsoft Corp. has joined the desktop search fray with its release today of the beta-test version of a suite of tools designed to let users find information stored in their PCs.

The new MSN Toolbar Suite is free and available for download now at In addition to an updated version of the MSN Toolbar for conducting Web searches using the company's Internet Explorer browser, the suite includes various toolbars for searching users' hard drives.


Read the complete article here.

IBM's sale of PC division to Lenovo ...

Don't know how many of you read "I, Cringley the Pulpit". I'm more or less a regular reader and Robert sure knows how to give a different perspective to something of importance happening in the world. Its a must read for all those who want to get a "different" perspective to "tech" things happening around.

BTW, this week's article on IBM's sale of PC division to Lenovo (the biggest Chinese PC company) has him giving yet another interesting dimension to the whole thing.


Okay, so IBM didn't want to make HP an even bigger competitor, then why not sell to a big Japanese player like NEC, which after all paid more than $1.8 billion for Packard Bell, of all things. The dollar is down, the yen is up, and the cost of corporate borrowing in Japan is almost free, so why didn't IBM sell to a Japanese company? Or a European one? Or even another American company? Gateway paid more cash for e-Machines than Lenovo is paying for IBM; Wouldn't Ted Waitt have ponied-up big bucks for the use of the IBM brand? Of course he would have.


Doing business in China always requires having a partner. You don't just set up an IBM China and start selling stuff. You find a local partner company and move into the market together. Now IBM's partner will be Lenovo, the biggest, baddest PC maker in China, which is a good partner to have. IBM not only has its Chinese partner, it has a substantial equity position in that partner as a result of this transaction. That's unique as far as I know. Chinese-U.S. corporate partnerships aren't always the easiest marriages, but in this one, IBM actually has a vote. It also got Lenovo to move its global headquarters to the U.S. and accept an American CEO and 10,000 U.S. employees, which will have to change the way Lenovo runs its global business.


Read the complete article here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/13/04

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Swarmstreaming: Swarming Downloads Evolved - you don't have to wait !

The technology improves swarming by ensuring that the bytes that the user wants next are scheduled to be received next. So if they're playing back a video file, the bytes from the front of the file will be received first. If the user (or application) skips forward to the middle of the file, the bytes at the middle of the file will be prioritized. Thus, unlike first generation swarming systems like Swarmcast or Bittorrent, you don't have to wait for the entire file to download to do something useful with it!.


Read the complete article here.

HCL Corp asked to pay Rs. 100 crores by Income Tax department, slapped a fine of Rs.805 crores ...

The Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal has asked HCL Corporation to pay Rs. 100 crores in the next three months and thereafter Rs. 15 crore every month. This would be pending the final outcome of the case of alleged evasion of tax on which a Rs. 805-crore demand has been made on the company.


The company said in a statement: "HCL Corporation is the holding company of HCL Technologies and HCL Info System. By way of clarification this dispute is completely unrelated to HCL Infosystems Limited or HCL Technologies Limited. This has no impact on the investors and shareholders, Board of Directors or employees of HCL Technologies or HCL Infosystems."


Read the complete story here.

Courtesy : The Hindu


Get more details on the allegations here.


The tax department found that HCL Technologies had intentionally manipulated its share price to take advantage of the zero capital gains tax regime prevailing in Mauritius. It claimed that the value of the shares was Rs 1,807 as against the price of Rs 50 a share at which they were sold to Wintech Investments P Ltd, a Mauritius-based company, in June 1999.


Courtesy : Financial Express

Chennai, Hyderabad favoured outsourcing centres - study

Chennai and Hyderabad will outdo Mumbai and Bangalore to be the most favourable Indian IT outsourcing destinations by 2010, according a report released on `IT outsourcing to India — Analysis of cities,' by Gartner Inc.

The study has categorised and evaluated the cities into four tiers based on various factors, including infrastructure, skills availability, skills retention, access, cost of living, political support and quality of life.


Read the complete article here.

Courtesy : The Hindu

Monday, December 13, 2004

I am famous - checkout my fan following !!


BTW, I generated this from here :)

India on Cisco's priority list

After a year of breakaway success, Cisco India is looking forward to repeating its 2004 performance in 2005. The last quarter of 2004 has seen Cisco enjoying a growth of cent per cent. The investments that the company had made into the Indian market, coupled with continued innovation and use of advanced technologies, are generating record results, say Cisco officials. And India is amongst the top-three strategic markets for Cisco worldwide, they add.

"We have announced a strategic roadmap to drive the next wave of growth in the enterprise and telecom markets in India. India contributed to top 3 deals from Apac that closed in 2003-04," said Cisco Apac president Gordon Astles. The deals were with SBI and VSNL. Cisco connected 4,200 SBI branches countrywide and installed more than 6,000 IP phones.

With VSNL, Cisco signed a Rs 500-crore broadband network deal to enable Tata Indicom's integrated voice, data and video services. "We believe broadband is the next wave in India. Our new products will address this market," he said. Cisco has shipped more than 50,000 IP phones to India and is bullish about the future.


Read the complete story here.

Courtesy : The Times of India.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Daily Cartoon - 12/11/04

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Now, that's an interesting view from my Prof ...

Prof. Mohanty put down his six rules of academics. Real funny read, don't miss them ! :)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

A Chennai IT company blogging ...

Look what I found - Adventnet Blogs

Adventnet is a Chennai centric company (if I know it right) that works on network management. A collegemate of mine used to work there before he moved on. An an ex-collegue of mine works there. Now, an XLRI batchmate Sridhar Ranganathan works there.

Sridhar maintains two blogs - personal, one-at-work (though probably not official).

It's the first time I'm seeing an IT company in Chennai maintain a blog for its employees. That's way too kewl :)

Strange thing with ...

Try and

Notice the difference ?!

Can't recollect where I read this from. Must be one of the Google (watch) Blogs.

Trying my hand at BlogRolling ...

After seeing a BlogRolling tag on a lot of sites, I've tried putting it up. Need some time to get used to it. In case you have suggestions or tips on how to use it, kindly post a comment / ping me by email.

Have a great weekend (of whatever is left of it) :)

Supposedly interesting uses of mobile phone camera ...

The following came in a mail to me. While the authenticity of this is questionable, it does indeed raise more interesting questions and highlights the myriad ways in which inventions can go above and beyond what they were originally intended for :)

Keep a watch out for people standing near you in the checkout line at retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, etc who have a camera cell phone in hand. With the camera cell phones, they can take a picture of your credit card, which gives them your name, number, and expiration date.

And, as they always say, take care ! For more information on credit card related issues, read my earlier post "Why I don't (like to) flash my credit card too much".

Daily Cartoon - 12/10/04

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Pretty Kewl Kung Fu Fighters flash movie ....

Pretty touching incident ...

A pretty neat account of a heart touching incident. I don't know if the kid had this whole thing planned well enough, but its at least worth thinking about what the next pizza money (or almost) can do to help someone.

Not that I'm recommending everyone to go on a charity spree or something, just give it a thought. In fact, I almost never give out money to beggars. I do charity on my own terms.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Google Suggest ...

As you type, Google will offer suggestions. Use the arrow keys to navigate the results.

O -ve blood needed ...

From a friend a ISoft Tech, Chennai.

One of my relatives is undergoing an Open heart surgery on Monday(13/12/2004) at Apollo, Chennai. 6 units of O negative blood is needed for the same. Willing donors can donate blood on Sunday (8:00 am to 1:00 pm) or Monday (8:00 am to 1:00 pm, preferably on Monday since a lot of fresh blood is needed for the surgery). Please find details below:

Patient Name: M.S. Ramakrishnan
Room No: 3305
Hospital: Apollo hospital
Blood type: O Negative
Contact: Mrs. Rajeshwari (94440 41466)
12/12/2004(Sunday) - 8 am to 1 pm
13/12/2004(Monday) - 8 am to 1 pm

Avinash Natarajan

Broadband policies in Pakistan and India

A nice primer on where India and Pakistan stand vis-a-vis their broadband policies and what the faults/improvement opportunities of those are.

Why is a broadband policy important?

As the Pakistani document explains, “A broadband connection can be used for two way applications that would not be viable with a slow and unreliable ‘dial up’ service such as online classrooms and health clinics where the teacher and student and the doctor and his patient can see and talk to each other through their computers.” In other words, for middle class, literate people, a dial-up connection may suffice, but for applications that would make a significant difference in the lives of the poor and illiterate, a broadband connection is a must.


Both India and Pakistan have set their sights very low, when it comes to defining broadband speed, considering even 128kbps to be broadband. While this speed is good enough for internet telephony, which both countries severely restrict, it does not suffice for quality video streaming, and other multimedia applications. India’s telecom establishment is so paranoid with regard to Internet telephony, that even in the definition of broadband, this technology is sought to be restricted. Pakistan seeks to deny broadband users unrestricted access to internet telephony as well, buried under section of the policy.

What stands in the way of rapid broadband penetration? “The subscription prices for broadband in Pakistan are 60 times higher than in Korea, as the price of 100 KBps in Korea is US$0.25 per month, as compared to the minimum of US$15 per month in Pakistan. However considering the respective purchasing powers of the two economies, this translates to 1600 times higher prices in Pakistan.” Coupled with high prices are “high installation and CPE costs, and low reliability and quality of service.”


Read the complete article here.

Wipro launches match-making portal

Wipro Technologies is trying to shoot like the great Cupid these days for its unmarried employees whose long, cast-iron work schedules just don't allow for men to be separated from boys.

In a novel move, Bangalore-based IT bellwether Wipro Technologies is running a intra-company match-making portal for its employees in the hope that attrition rates may come down.

Choose your spouse and get back to work is now the order of the day. The "facility", however, is applicable only for the in-house geeks and not employees of Wipro's other group companies.

Says Sarika Pradhan, manager for Talent Engagement and Development, Wipro Technologies: "When we look at attrition in the industry, one of the major factors why employees leave companies is invariably because of marriage. By offering a match-making service internally on our Channel W employee portal, we expect to combat this issue as the chances of employees finding spouses internally is quite high."


Read complete story here.

Daily Cartoon - 12/09/04

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Now, does that remind you of what you do at office ?! :)


Now, this is why you need Quality Checks !! :)


This pretty much explains the scope of winning an argument (after marriage) ! :)


Other "related" photos in my humor blog.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Get Linux CDs in India ...

by sending a mail to, whereupon people in your area will call you and offer you the CDs at rates ranging from Rs. 0 to Rs. 50 per disk.

EDGE-enabled live TV, high-speed browsing launched in TN

Cellular major, Airtel today launched its new facility in Tamil Nadu, by which subscribers can experience rich multimedia content including live TV, live movies and games on their EDGE-enabled mobile handsets.

With the launch of EDGE (Enhanced DataRate for Global Evolution) in Coimbatore and Chennai, the customers can view continuous and real time feed of News and Entertainment channels, Ramgopal Vallath, Chief Operating Officer of Bharti Cellular Ltd, told a press conference here.

To begin with, subscribers can view real time feed from channels like Jaya TV, Zoom, CNBC, Asianet and Aaj Tak and more channels would be added in due course, he said.

With data transfer speeds between 100-200 Kbps, the content also include music and file transfer, picture download, E-mail download, Vallath, demonstrating the facility, said.


Read the complete story here.

Forbes names 40 richest Indians

Lakshmi Mittal, Azim Premji, Mukesh and Anil Ambani and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw have featured in the Forbes rich list this year.

Forbes has announced its maiden list of the top 40 richest people in India in its December 20 issue.

Steel magnate L.N. Mittal tops the list with a wealth of $11.2 billion. His company Ispat International aims to become the world's largest steel firm.


Top 10 Net worth
Lakshmi Mittal - $11.2 bn
Azim Premji - $10 bn
Ambani bros - $6.4 bn
K M Birla - $3.5 bn
Pallonji Mistry - $2.9 bn
Sunil Bharti Mittal - $2.6 bn
Shiv Nadar - $2.3 bn
Adi Godrej - $1.9 bn
Singh bros - $1.5 bn
Dilip Shanghvi - $ 1.4 bn

Woman on top Net worth
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - $455 mn

Read the complete article here.

HCLT inks deal with insurance broker

HCL Technologies has signed an agreement with the UK-based insurance broking firm AA Insurance Services.

According to a release issued to the BSE today, AA Insurance Services provides quotes for car, home and travel in the UK market.

"Leveraging its contact center in Belfast, Northern Ireland, HCL will be selling financial services to AA customers," the release added.


Read the complete story here.

And now you know how my typical work week is ! :)


Bangalore Autos !!

From an internal mailing list, talking about life in B'lore.

He has got a pager, a mobile, a WLL phone. No, he is not a software engineer who left accenture and joined SAP Labs. He is an autorickshaw driver. And he has all these gadgets in his auto. A friend of mine had a chance to have a ride in this auto yesterday. There are other facilities too - slots for magazines and news papers, a digital display board which displays train timings, headlines etc. And to top all that the chap is really polite and courteous. These are the people that make this city interesting.



Cataract eye operation in Chennai

Came up in an internal mailing list. Suggestions welcome.

[on behalf of my friend, for your valuable comments]


My mom has cataract problem and hence was advised to undergo cataract operation. The problem is so trivial that she cannot see things clearly (even others can observe she’s struggling).

I contacted Dr. Arul Mozhi Varman (he talked about Laser treatment advancement in Sun TV) who is having Uma Clinic in Anna nagar. He said cataract operation is permanent solution and my mom’s case has crossed a certain stage like that. He also said some options like wearing glasses but that will postpone the operation for a year. Also the operation is using laser treatment and it takes hardly 3hrs hospitalization and after that she’ll be normal as usual, he said.

But somebody told my mom that after laser treatment, one guy is having head ache and dizziness (he’s an old man though). I don’t know how far it is true and related to this but my mom is afraid now and not willing to undergo operation. Even I just want to clarify the effect of this operation from a wider audience.

I want to know the following details from people who experienced or having family examples like this case (I may not prefer general personal opinions on the problem).

1. Is this laser treatment is safe enough?
2. Is Laser treatment for Cataract problem has any side effects?
3. Is this operation a permanent solution or do we need to have glasses after some years?

(Doctor said not reqd.)

4. Who is the best doctor in Chennai? I would prefer the doctor first than the hospital name like Shankara Nethralaya. Any personal or family experiences are most welcome.

5. Any personal referrals (Doctors) if possible?

Use of maps in India is undemocratic

Archaic laws bar Indians from obtaining maps for 43 per cent of the country. With India's mapping policy under review, will Indians finally be given the right to know more about the area where they live in?

Read the complete story here.

An email from Y.P.Singh ...

describing the rationale behind his resignation. For those who don't know, Y.P.Singh is an honest, upright IPS officer who resigned from Indian Civil Services recently after being fed up of the corruption in Police machinery.

Dear Mr. Ravinder Singh and Mr. C. Umashankar,

I am so concerned about your feelings that I should have clung on to my job and should have taken recourse to the courts. But an intrinsic analysis will reveal otherwise.

Had I been running from the scene I wouldn't have resigned but enjoyed the glamour. Moreover, I am myself an expert in service matters and had won my own case relating to a service matter in the Supreme Court while arguing in person. Besides, in 2001, I got gold medal in law from Bombay University. That being so, I could have handled my grievances in the CAT and other Courts on my own and could have succeeded, too.

If I followed that option, which is akin to what is being suggested by Mr. Umashankar, I would have faced the following consequences:

FIRST: Spend unending years in court battles.

SECOND: After winning get marked become a black sheep and then always get dumped in a posting where you get salary with grand perquisites but without any work. No one ever will give you sensitive work.

THIRD: As you languish the corrupt will thrive in best of the positions.

FOURTH: You will be able to contribute nothing to the society by taking salary without work.

Having analysed this situation I made myself equipped with almost each and every law of the land. Moreover, I had got a practical cutting edge experience in handling matters relating to the violations of law, investigating them and then pursuing the cases right up to the Supreme Court. Hence I concluded that if I quit I will have the following advantages:

FIRST: Being equipped in law I can take the issues for innumerable people who suffer on account of those laws, which corrupt govt servants are supposed to implement but they do not implement, for money.

SECOND: Having a very profound understanding of corruption in high places thriving behind the complicated laws I can help honest NGOs taking up anti-corruption related matters.

THIRD: There is a vacuum in the legal field of those people who have seen the courts as well as the implementation and non-implementation of laws in the govt. from inside. This experience can fill up a void in this area.

FOURTH: Being free to speak and with a different view of looking at things, one can bring into public domains so many matters which only a person who understands the govt from within can do so. Being in service one cannot speak and if he does he is branded as indisciplined and then nailed.

FIFTH: It is better to take up matters related above when one is young. Not only does this command greater credibility but it also gives a better orientation to mental faculties at the right age.

SIXTH: Being outside, one can also take a dynamic initiative for policy reforms.

SEVENTH: Law is a profession where to make both ends meet is very easy. Moreover, one can generate surplus income, which can be channelled for society's good.

I would be the last person to take a decision on impulse. I have taken this step only after a rational analysis, which leads to this singular conclusion. It was certainly a lesser evil.

I am grateful to my friends who have thought so fervently about me.


Y.P. Singh

Here's an interesting view on what Digital cameras are doing to us ! :)

Daily Cartoon - 12/08/04

BCced to intended recepients.
Archive @

(India) GSM user base rises to 35.94 million

Airtel, my mobile phone service provider, leads the country in number of customers. I will however not talk about the complaints that prepaid users seem to have with its service :)

Cellular operators offering GSM services added 1.14 million customers during November 2004, taking their total subscriber base to 35.94 million.

As per the data released by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents nine GSM (global system for mobile) service providers, Airtel has the maximum share of the market at 26.20 per cent, with 9.41 million users.

This is followed by public sector BSNL, which has 8.15 million users, accounting for 22.68 per cent of the market.


Read the complete article here.

TRAI asks BSNL to release bandwidth

Telecom regulator TRAI today asked public sector BSNL to release more bandwidth for boosting internet penetration, which stands at a dismally low 0.4 per cent in the country.

''BSNL is possessive about bandwidth and does not give it easily.

It is imperative for BSNL to part with it to speed up internet growth,'' TRAI Chairman Pradip Baijal said at the Third CEO Conclave, organised by Voice & Data here.


As per TRAI, India has 16 terabytes bandwidth capacity, of which only 0.180 is lit.

Read the complete story here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

New 7 wonders ...

There's this mail floating around for quite some time.

The Seven Wonders are being selected again. Vote to make The Taj Mahal appear in the new 7 wonders of the world list. Spare a minute and make our monument get counted. The Taj is right now in the seventh position. We need to take it to the top. You can vote as many times you like.

Vote at

You would need to send an SMS to get your vote counted. Spread this message to all your friends. Lets give The Taj its due.

Which makes me wonder and ask the question :

1. Who is conducting this ? Why ?
2. Why am I supposed to send an SMS ?!
3. Is this authorized by the UN World Heritage or an equivalent ?
4. When will this process be done again ?
5. How frequently will this keep happening ?

Answer to all of these questions :
Hint: rip-off

Looks like a big, clever marketing sham to make a lot of money.

Poetry on wife (knowledge of Hindi required) ...

Offered without comments :)

Aisi apni wife ho ,
5.5 jiski height ho,
jeans jiski tight ho,
chehra jiska bright ho,
weight me thodi light ho,
umar me diff. slight ho,
thodi si woh quiet ho,
aisi apni wife ho,
bhid mei chale to sab kahe side ho ,side ho,
india ki paidaish ho,
saas ki seva jiski khwaish ho,
aisi apni wife ho,
dono me kabhi na fight ho,
milne ke baad dil delight ho,
hey prabhu teri archana uski life ho,
yeh kavita padh kar sab kahe ...............

Why ISRO & China are tight Lipped about recent Encounters With UFOs?

Offered without comments. Authenticity unknow.

Indian sky has been the scene of numerous UFOs in recent days. According to some of the Indian Space Research Organization officials who are officially tight lipped there are lots of excitement about this topic. Many are hinting that in 2012 there will be an official landing in six different countries all over the world. India is one of the six chosen. The UFOs are mainly performing scouting missions to establish contacts with Indian Government and military. India is being told on how to tackle the nuclear, space technology and other advanced technologies.

India is definitely going to gain from these recent encounters. One of the ISRO engineers recently spoke about India’s most advanced secret project on anti-gravity propulsion systems and the fact that some scientists are in the process of studying this advanced technology in a package form. When asked what he really meant by “package! ” form, his reply was readymade technologies made easy for absorption and utilization instead of invention.


Read the complete article here.

Marketing concepts explained ...

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, "I'm very rich. Marry me!"
That's Direct Marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says, "He's very rich. Marry him."
That's Advertising.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and get her telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm very rich. Marry me."
That's Telemarketing.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie; you walk up to her and pour her a drink. You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say, "By the way, I'm very rich. Will you marry me?"
That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. She walks up to you and says, "You are very rich.."
That's Brand Recognition.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, "I'm very rich. Marry me". She gives you a nice hard slap on your face.
That's Customer Feedback !!

Previous versions ended here. Now, for more !!

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, "I'm very rich. Marry me!". And she introduces you to her husband.
That's Demand and supply gap.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and before you say, "I'm very rich. Marry me!". She turns her face towards you ------------ she is your wife!
That's competition eating into your market share.

Difference between God and the Project Manager ...

Once again, an ideal candidate for my humor blog, nonetheless appearing here ;-)


One day a man was having a conversation with god when his whole life flashed before his eyes as a series of footsteps on the sands of time. He saw that there were two pairs of footprints, but during the most difficult periods of his life there were only one set of footprints. He asked god "You said you will be with me throughout this journey, but why have you deserted me during the most critical times of my life??" to which god answered "Son, I did not desert you, I was always with see only one set of footprints because during those difficult times in your life, I was carrying you"

Another day a Software Programmer was having a similar conversation with his roject Manager (PM) when his whole project flashed before his eyes as a series of footsteps on the sands of time. He saw that there were two pairs of footprints, but during the most difficult times in the project there were only one set of footprints. He asked his PM "You said you will be with me throughout the project, but why have you deserted me during the most critical times of the project??" to which the PM answered "Son, I did not desert you, I was always with see only one set of footprints because during those difficult times, I was sitting on your head!!"

Jesus in a tooth ...

After Virgin Mary sandwiches, it's the turn of Jesus in a tooth.

Cost of getting House live on air: Rs 120 cr

What would it cost to realise Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's dream of bringing live to viewers the activities of Parliamentarians they voted to power? Rough estimates indicate that transmitting two channels — one for the Lok Sabha and the other for the Rajya Sabha, round the clock — would work up to Rs 120 crore annually for each of the channels. This would be minus the cost for hiring a transponder if ISRO chooses to waive the amount.

Roughly, the costs work out like this: To produce 10 hours of original programming, the Prasar Bharati Corporation requires Rs 50 lakh per day per channel. Add to this the cost of uplinking, which has to be eventually borne by somebody, which is around Rs 10 crore, and the manpower required to make the programmes.


Read the complete article here.

Yet another wonderful quote ...

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

-- Niels Bohr

Daily Cartoon - 12/07/04

BCced to intended recepients.
Archive @

AVG (Free) Anti Virus Personal Edition 7.0 upgrade available ...

For those who are using the 6.x version of AVG free anti virus software, now may be the right time to ugprade !

Go here for the upgrade info.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Firefox 1.0 and Thunderbird 1.0 are out!

Thanks to Peter for pointing this to me !

My "broadband" test results ...

Tested from Broadband India.

:::.. Download Stats ..:::
Connection is:: 108 Kbps about 0.1 Mbps (tested with 579 KB)
Download Speed is:: 13 KB/s
Tested From::
Bottom Line:: 2 times faster than 56K you can download 1MB in 78.77 second(s)
Validation Link::

Similar test results:

Given that my connection is a 64kbps DSL connection purchased from Airtel, I should be quite happy seeing the above numbers quoting in the range of 107kbps or so ! :)

Now, don't get me started on broadband DSL elsewhere in the world !! :)

Why I don't (like to) flash my credit card too much ...

I have been developing this habit of using my credit card less and less (each time, I'm actually trying to weigh the benefit of getting a float versus paying by cash). I've never used it for fuel, instead have opted for a smart card from Bharat Petroleum.

The main reason is that I'm quite concerned about credit card fraud. All the devices currently print the entire credit card number along with the expiry date (I think) and other information. As a result, any place that has a copy of this can commit fraud (especially of the online variety).

And, given that more and more places accept credit cards, the penetration levels of possible fraud is increasing at a very high rate.

BTW, here's an article indicating how gangs (including terrorist rings) get credit card information from hotels, petrol pumps, etc and carry on their nefarious activities.

And, how many times has the person at the counter actually verified your signature at the back with what you've put on the bill ? Try and recollect. I've tried my part at educating many of the places that I visit, but it's a hopeless battle :(

IIRC, some of the major players have changed the specifications of the reader machines such that these machines are supposed to print only a few numbers off the entire card. However, those machines are not expected to hit the market in the near future (my vague memory reminds me about something around 2007-2010). Till then, be careful, very careful.

For those of you who use credit cards online, AMEX has a virtual credit card number facility. With this, the system generates a one time credit card number that use for a particular transaction. After that it is invalidated. IIRC, the number of times it could be used could probably be specified by you, but my memory is vague. They provided it free for their American customers. Not sure about other places.

All the best flashing that piece of plastic !!

Amartya Sen on the links between China and India

The intellectual links between China and India, stretching over two thousand years, have had far-reaching effects on the history of both countries, yet they are hardly remembered today. What little notice they get tends to come from writers interested in religious history, particularly the history of Buddhism, which began its spread from India to China in the first century. In China Buddhism became a powerful force until it was largely displaced by Confucianism and Taoism approximately a thousand years later. But religion is only one part of the much bigger story of Sino-Indian connections during the first millennium. A broader understanding of these relations is greatly needed, not only for us to appreciate more fully the history of a third of the world's population, but also because the connections between the two countries are important for political and social issues today.


Read the complete article "Passage to China".

Courtesy : Marko via Anil Dash